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^'^^^Wi^QPinius 



A SURVEY 
OF THE BATS OF THE 
DEERLODGE NATIONAL FOREST 
MONTANA 

1992 



Final Report 
September 1993 



by 

Thomas W. Butts 

Montana Natural Heritage Program 
1515 East Sixth Avenue 
Helena, Montana 59620 

for the 
Deerlodge National Forest, U.S. Forest Service 



599.4 
NllSBDNF 



^ BUC t-O Lc •• 



Montana State Library 



3 0864 1004 3975 4 



oj. aanssi 



^ nontana Baturml Beritage Pro yii» 

This docuoenC should be cited as follows: 

Butts. ThoBss W. 1993. A survey of the bats of the Deerlodge National 
Forest. Montana. Montana Natural Heritage Prograa. Helena. HT. 39 pp. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Page 

INTRODUCTION 1 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 2 

METHODS 3 

Equipment 3 

Bat identification 4 

Site selection 5 

Caves and adits 6 

Habitat use surveys 7 

RESULTS 9 

Habitat use surveys 9 

Bat species captured 14 

Other bat species 17 

Bat species by habitat and distribution 17 

Cave and adit surveys 22 

DISCUSSION 24 

Survey methods 24 

Species occurrence 25 

Relative density 27 

Habitat use 29 

Cave and adit surveys 33 

SUMMARY 34 

LITERATURE CITED 36 

APPENDIX I 38 



LIST OF TABLES 

Page 
Table 1, Habitat components and survey results by site, 

Deerlodge National Forest, 1992 11 

Table 2. Number and percentage of sites with high and 
moderate bat activity for a given habitat 
component 13 

Table 3. Percentage of sites with high and moderate bat 

activity featuring a given habitat component. ... 15 

Table 4. Bats captured on the Deerlodge National Forest, 

1992 16 

LIST OF FIGURES 

Page 
Figure 1 . Map of Deerlodge National Forest and survey 

sites, 1992 10 

Figure 2. Bat species captured, by location; 

1991 and 1992 19 



INTRODUCTION 

The Endangered Species Act of 1973, Section 7 (a)(2) mandates 
that any federal agency assure that any of its actions "(are) not 
likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or 
threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse 
modification of (its) habitat" (Finch 1992). In addition, the 
National Forest Management Act of 1975 and United States Forest 
Service ( USFS ) policy require that the Forest Service must 
maintain viable populations of native vertebrates in national 
forests (Sec. 219 (12)(g) and "where appropriate and to the 
extent practicable, ...preserve and enhance the diversity of 
plant and animal communities" (Finch 1992). 

There are presently 14 species of bats in Montana (Thompson 
1982)). Five species are listed by the Montana Natural Heritage 
Program as species of special concern. These are the Pallid bat 
(Antrozous pallidus) , the Spotted bat {Eudezrma maculattm) , 
Townsend's big-eared bat {Plecotus townsendii) , the Fringed 
myotis (Myotis thysanodes) , and the Northern long-eared bat 
{Myotis septentrionalis) (Center 1993). The first three are 
listed as sensitive by the Northern Region (R 1) of the USFS 
( Mumma 1991). Sensitive species are "those plant and animal 
species identified by the Regional Forester for which population 
viability is a concern as evidenced by: 

a) Significant current or predicted downward trends in 

population numbers and density; 

2) Significant current or predicted downward trends in 



habitat capability that would reduce a species' existing 
distribution" (Reel et al. 1989). 

In 1991, the biologist for the Deerlodge National Forest 
contacted the director of the Montana Natural Heritage Program to 
discuss the possibility of developing baseline data on the 
occurrence, distribution, relative density, and habitat use of 
bats on the Forest. A study was initiated that year, and results 
were presented in "A Preliminary Survey of the Bats of the 
Deerlodge National Forest, Montana - 1991" (Butts 1993). 

The study was continued in 1992. The findings of this work are 
presented here. 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 

Field work for this study was performed by Tom Butts with the 
assistance of Michelle Brown and Jeremy Butts. Dave Center of 
the Montana Natural Heritage Program provided direction, 
suggestions, editing of reports, field assistance, equipment, and 
bat identification. Jina Mariani, Deerlodge National Forest 
biologist, assisted with logistics and funding through the U.S. 
Forest Service's challenge cost share program, and made helpful 
editorial comments on the final report. 



METHODS 

Equipment 

Mist nets: Braided nylon mist nets, in 18, 30, and 36 foot 
lengths, (50 dernier/2 ply; 1 1/2 inch mesh) were used to capture 
bats ( Kunz and Kurta 1988). Mist nets were strung on sectional 
aluminum poles made from electrical conduit, cut to 5 foot 
lengths, each with a connector at one end, so a net pole could be 
fashioned to any desired height. Poles used for this study were 
two or three lengths high (10 to 15 feet). Poles were held in 
place with ropes tied to trees, rocks, or branches. Mist nets 
were deployed across forest trails, across the narrower stretches 
of slow moving streams and smaller pools, and adjacent to the 
shoreline of lakes and larger ponds (Kunz and Kurta 1988). 

Harp Trap: A modified collapsible harp trap (Kunz and Kurta 
1988, Tuttle 1974) was constructed using 3 inch PVC pipe for the 
frame and 10 pound monofilament fishing line strung between the 
vertical members of the trap. The double-frame trap was used at 
the mouths of caves and adits (Kunz and Kurta 1988). 

Bat detectors: Tunable Broadband ultra-sonic bat detectors 
( QMC Mini-2) were used to detect night-time bat activity. If a 
single detector was being used it was tuned to 40 kHz when 
walking a transect. If two detectors were available, one was 
tuned to 38 kHz and the other to 25 kHz. When a bat was 



detected, the dial of the detector could be manipulated to find 
the high and low range of the detected bat (if there was time, 
which there generally was not). With experience the activity of 
the bat (cruising, searching, or feeding) and the genus of the 
bat could be determined by the sound, duration, and intensity of 
the detected bat echolocations ( Fenton 1988, Fenton and Bell 
1981). Detections were recorded on field forms by time, 
frequency monitored, and species (if known or suspected )( See 
Appendix I for field forms ) . 

Bat identification 

Once captured in a mist net or harp trap, bats were carefully 
removed. Species of the bat, sex, age (juvenile or 
adult )( Anthony 1988), reproductive condition (females: lactatlng 
or non-lactating; males: scrotal or non- scrotal ) (Racey 1988), and 
select measurements (forearm length, tibia length) and other 
identifying characteristics and measurements such as ear length, 
pelage coloration, etc., were recorded on field forms. Weight was 
taken using a Pesola spring scale (1/2 gram) and measurements 
were taken using a vernier caliper and recorded to the 
millimeter. Bats were identified using one of several 
dichotomous keys. The most useful were: 

Bats of America Barbour and Davis 1969 

The Mammals of Montana Hoffman and Pattie 1968 

Handbook of Canadian Mammals van Zyll de Jong 1985 



Most bats were released after data was recorded, though if there 
was a question of identification, or if the bat was considered 
unusual for that locality or habitat, the bat was collected to be 
verified later by a competent authority. 

Site Selection 

The following criteria were used in selecting sites to survey bat 
distribution and habitat use on the Deerlodge National Forest 
during the first year of study: 

1 ) location and survey of caves and adits on the Forest 
was a top priority; 

2 ) representative habitats on the Forest were to be 
surveyed ; 

3) surveys were to be made throughout the Forest, and; 

4 ) surveys were to be completed within a timeframe 
dictated by bat behavior: at some time, presumably in 
September, bats would either hibernate or migrate out 
of the study area. 

The Forest was divided into three broadly defined zones; the 
Phillipsburg and Anaconda area, the Boulder and Basin area, and 
the Butte area. Though habitats throughout the Forest were to be 
sampled, the highest priority was assigned the Phillipsburg/ 
Anaconda zone due to the higher number of caves and adits 
occurring within it, and the greater variety of habitats. 



Caves and adits were located by consultation with Forest Service 
personnel, knowledgeable "cavers," "locals," and the available 
literature, particularly Campbell's (1978) Caves of Montana. 

During the second year of study, the criteria of the first year 
were modified somewhat. Though the four criteria above were 
still operable, a priority was to be given to: 

1 ) re-visiting those sites that had high bat densities in 
1991; 

2) locating new sites throughout the forest to sample in 
order to test the findings of 1991. 

Once a general area was selected, the specific site was chosen 
that appeared to have potential roosting sites nearby, such as 
older trees, fractured rock, old buildings, or known caves or 
adits. If water was nearby, specific sites to set up mist nets 
were generally selected that crossed the slowest moving stretches 
of streams or pools. 

Caves and Adits 

When a cave or adit was located, it was searched for evidence of 
bat use (bats, droppings, characteristic odor) and the location, 
extent, potential for bat use, temperature, humidity, and other 
pertinent data were described on field forms. 



Caves or adits that were potentially used by bats were surveyed 
by setting up one or more mist nets at or near the opening, or a 
harp trap within the entrance, shortly before dark, and 
monitoring the nets throughout the night. Mist nets were 
collapsed shortly before dawn. An observer also used one or more 
"bat detectors" at the entrance, beginning at dusk and staying at 
least an hour, and then until there was no bat activity for more 
than 30 minutes. 

Habitat Use Surveys 

Once a site was selected, from two to six mist nets were set up 
in the evening across trails, next to lakeshores, and across 
streams or ponds. Nets were not raised into final position until 
about one-half hour after sunset to avoid catching birds. 
Depending on the site, the height of the bottom of the net above 
ground or water varied from less than a foot to 6 feet. Nets 
were checked at least every hour until after mid-night, then 
again between one hour, and one-half hour before sunrise. Nets 
were taken down one-half hour before sunrise to avoid catching 
birds. 

One or two walking transects were conducted at each site, 
depending upon available personnel. Beginning approximately one- 
half hour after sunset, and lasting for one hour, a transect was 
walked through habitat representative of the area, using a bat 
detector. All bats heard were recorded as "cruising, searching. 



or feeding," depending on activity, by species if identifiable, 
and by time period. 

As information collected in 1991 suggested that little bat 
activity occurred after midnight, walking transects were run no 
later than that time. 

Habitats sampled for bat activity were broken into several 
habitat components for analysis. These were : 

COMPONENT CODE 

Dense lodgepole pine forest Lpp 

Mixed hardwoods Mh 

Mature Douglas fir forest DF 

Sub-alpine fir/limber pine SF 

Clearcuts nearby CC 

Lake nearby La 

Rock outcrops nearby Ro 

Cave/Adit nearby Ca 

Riparian (willow, alder, aspen) Rl 

Beaver ponds nearby Bo 

Old buildings nearby BL 

Open areas (meadows, fields) Op 

Sites were assigned codes determined by habitat components at or 
near that site, and bat occurrence and relative density (measured 
by bat passes recorded per hour of walking transect) using 

8 



various habitats was determined. 

Mixed hardwoods were primarily cottonwoods and/or aspen stands. 
Mature Douglas fir stands consisted of trees generally 18 inches 
diameter at breast height (DBH). "Nearby" habitat components 
were within 1/4 miles (440 m) of the survey sites. 

RESULTS 

Habitat Use Surveys 

A total of 20 sites were surveyed for bats on the Deerlodge 
National Forest between June 3 and September 7, 1992 (Figure 1). 
Four of these sites were visited twice each. An attempt was made 
to cover as many of the forested habitats in the forest as 
possible, and to visit sites not surveyed in 1991, as well as to 
re-visit sites that had high bat activity in 1991. 

A minimum of one hour was spent on a walking transect, using a 
bat detector, at each site surveyed. At several sites, two or 
three hours of transect were run (Table 1). Two or more mist 
nets were set up at all sites except one. Twenty-two trap nights 
were expended at 19 sites (Table 1). 

Bat activity was recorded as bat passes per hour of transect. If 
more than one transect was run at a site, the transect recording 
the most activity was used for the following analysis. Activity 




l)STONEY CREEK C.G. 

2) BISON CREEK 

3) LOWLAND C.G. 

4) BASIN CREEK 

5) ELDER CREEK C.G. 

6) DOUGLAS CREEK MINES 

7) BOULDER RIVER 

8) BROWN'S GULCH 

9) QUEENS GULCH 

10) OLD HIGHWAY 10 

11) BEAVER CREEK. 

12) PIGEON CREEK 

13) PIKES PEAK CREEK 

14) FRENCH GULCH 

15) BOULDER CREEK 

16) MOUNTAIN LION MINE 

17) FOSTER CREEK 

18) EVA MAE MINE, BASIN 

19) NORTHEAST OF BASIN 

20) ELKHORN 




Figure 1: Map of Deerlodge National Forest and Survey Sites, 1992. 



10 



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was arbitrarily assigned to three categories: low= 0-4 bat passes 
per hour; moderate= 5-9 bat passes per hour; and high= 10 plus 
bat passes per hour. 

No bat activity was recorded at only two sites surveyed (Foster 
Creek and Elkhorn). The evening that Foster Creek was surveyed 
had thunderstorms with wind and occasional heavy rain. 

Light bat activity (one to four bat passes per hour) was recorded 
at five sites (25%). These sites included Lowland Campground, 
Basin Creek, the Boulder River, Old Highway 10 east of Butte, and 
the unidentified mine site several miles northeast of Basin 

(Table 1). 

Moderate activity (five to nine passes per hour) was recorded at 
Stoney Creek Campground, Elder Creek Campground, the Douglas 
Creek Mines, Queen's Gulch, French Gulch, the Mountain Lion Mine, 
and the Eva May Mine (35% of the sites visited )( Table 1). 

Sites with high activity (10 or more bat passes per hour) were 
Bison Creek, Brown's Gulch, Beaver Creek, Pigeon Creek, Pikes 
Peak Creek, and Boulder Creek (30% of the sites) (Table 1). 

The number of sites surveyed that contained a given habitat 
component, and the number and percentage of these sites that had 
high, moderate, or low activity, is shown in Table 2. For 

12 



Habitat component 


# of site, 
surveyed 


# with high 
activity 


% with high 
activity 


» with 

moderate 

activity 


% with 

moderate 

activity 


Rock outcrops 


7 


3 


43 


3 


43 


Caves/adits 


3 


1 


33 


2 


67 


1 Riparian 


16 


6 


38 


5 


31 


Beaver ponds 


6 


4 


67 








Douglas fir 


11 


3 


27 


6 


55 


Clearcuts 


1 


1 


100 








Lodgepole pine 


11 


3 


27 


1 


9 


Mature hardwoods 


7 


3 


43 


2 


29 


Old buildings 


3 








2 


67 



Table 2: Number and percentage of sites with high and moderate 
bat activity for a given habitat component. 



instance, seven of the sites had rock outcrops nearby. Of these 
sites, 43% had high bat activity, 43% had moderate activity, and 
14% had low activity. Habitat features in which one-third or more 
of the sites with that component had high bat activity were rock 
outcrops, caves/adits (33%), riparian (38%), beaver ponds (67%), 
mature hardwoods (43%), and clearcuts (100%). 

Moderate bat activity was associated with the following 
components at least one-third of the time when that component was 
available: rock outcrops (43%), caves/adits (67%), Douglas fir 
forest (55%), and old buildings (67%) (Table 2). 

One-third of the sites with old buildings had low bat activity. 



13 



while 67% of the sites with lodgepole pine had low activity 
(Table 2). 

Table 3 shows the percentage of high, moderate, and low activity 
sites containing a given habitat component. For instance, half 
of the sites with high bat activity had rock outcrops, mature 
hardwoods, lodgepole pine forest, or Douglas fir components 
nearby (note: some sites may have had all of these components, 
some only one, or any combination). All of the sites with high 
activity were in riparian areas. Only 17% of the high activity 
sites had caves or adits nearby, and the same percentage were 
near clearcuts. 

Sites that had moderate bat activity were associated with Douglas 
fir stands 86% of the time and riparian areas 71% of the time, 
while no sites with moderate activity were associated with beaver 
ponds or clearcuts (Table 3). 

All sites with low bat activity had lodgepole pine as a component 
of the habitat; 71% of these sites were in riparian area while 
none were near clearcuts and only 14% had old buildings or rock 
outcrops nearby ( Table 3 ) . 

Bat species captured 

Bats were captured at five of the 19 sites where mist nets were 

set on the Deerlodge National Forest in 1992. These were at the 

14 

















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High 


50 


17 


100 


67 


50 


17 


50 


50 





Medium 


43 


29 


71 





86 





14 


29 


29 1 


Low 


14 





71 


29 


29 





100 


29 


14 1 



Table 3. Percentage of sites with high, moderate, and low bat 
activity featuring a given habitat component (i.e 50% 
of sites with high bat activity were near rock 
outcrops ) . 



Douglas Creek Mines (8 bats). Brown's Gulch (2 bats). Queen *# 
Gulch (1 bat). Pikes Peak Creek (2 bats) and Beaver Creek (1 bat) 
( see Table 1 and Table 4 ) . 

A total of fourteen bats were captured, representing five species 
and two genera ( Table 4 ) . These included Big brown bats 
{Epteslcus fuscus). Little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus) , Long- 
eared myotis (Myotis evotis). Small-footed myotis (Myotis 
ciliolabrvm) , and the Fringed myotis (Myotis t?iysanodes ) . 



15 



Location 


Species 


0) 


t-t 

3 


E 

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u 




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a: 


< 


Douglas Creek 
Mines 


Big brown bat 


M 


15.5 


44.5 


NS 


AD 




■• 


M 


14.5 


45.5 


NS 


AD 




•• 


M 


14.5 


45.8 


NS 


AD 




" 


M 


15.5 


47.2 


NS 


AD 




" 


M 


15.0 


45.3 


NS 


AD 




Long-eared 
myotis 


M 


7.4 


8.0 


NS 


AD 




Small- footed 
myotis 


M 


4.0 


30.5 


NS 


AD 


Brown's Gulch 


Little brown 
bat 


M 


6.5 


36.0 


NS 


JV 


•• 


" 


M 


7.0 


37.0 


NS 


AD 


Queen ' s Gulch 


Fringed 
myotis 


F 


7.0 


39.0 


NL 


AD 


Beaver Creek 


" 


F 


6.6 


39.0 


L 


AD 


Pike's Peak 
Creek 


Little brown 
bat 


M 


6.2 


37.0 


NS 


AD 


" 


Long-eared 
myotis 


M 


6.5 


35.0 


NS 


AD 



M-Male: S-Scrotal: NS-Nonscrotal 
f'Tenale; L-L«ctatlng; NL- Non-lactatlng 

AD-Adult; JV-Juvenlle 

Table 4. Bats captured on the Deer lodge National Forest, 1992. 

* * * 

Biological data of these bats, including species, sex, age, 
weight, and forearm length, and reproductive condition is given 



16 



in Table 4. 

Other bat species 

Surveys during 1991 on the Deer lodge National Forest resulted in 
the capture of the Yuma bat (Myotls yumanensls) , the Hoary bat 
(Lasiurus clnerius) , and the Silver-haired bat (Laslonycterls 
noctivagans) as well as several of the species captured again in 
1992. Thus, eight species representing four genera were 
documented on the Forest during this study. One of these, the 
Fringed myotis is listed as species of special concern by the 
Montana Natural Heritage Program (Center 1993). 

Though not documented by capture, several Townsend's big-eared 
bats (Plecotus townsendll) , another MNHP species of special 
concern, and a species listed by USFS Region 1 as sensitive, were 
possibly observed flying above a road at dusk on two consecutive 
evenings near Pikes Peak Creek and the Crater. Unfortunately, 
none were captured for positive identification. 

Bat Species by Habitat and Distribution 

Little brown bats (Myotis luclfugus) were captured at Pikes Peak 
Creek south of Gold Creek in riparian habitat, amid mature 
Douglas fir, and extensive lodgepole pine forests, with known 
caves and limestone rock outcrops, and clearcuts in the vicinity. 
They were also captured on the Deerlodge N.F. at Brown's Creek 
east of Boulder near the Elkhorn Mountains, over a small pond 

17 



surrounded by cottonwoods situated in a sagebrush dominated 
valley (Figure 2). Myotis species were heard on the bat detector 
at most sites surveyed on the Deerlodge National Forest in 1992. 
Myotis were almost always the most abundant bats present (they 
were not heard at one site where other bat species were; the Eva 
Mae Mine northeast of Basin). 

Long-eared myotis (Myotis evotis) were captured at two sites in 
1992 on the Deerlodge N.F.; near the Douglas Creek mines and on 
Pikes Peak Creek. Both sites are riparian, have caves or adits 
nearby, and have mature Douglas fir in the vicinity (Figure 2). 

A Small-footed myotis (Myotis ciliolairum) was captured near 
the adits, and observed exiting from them, at the Douglas Creek 
mines (Figure 2). 

Fringed myotis (Myotis thysanodes) were captured at Queen ^ Gulch 
and Beaver Creek in 1992 (Figure 2). Both of these sites were 
near streams and riparian vegetation in mature Douglas fir 
forests. There are rock outcrops nearby in Queen •'^ Gulch, and 
beaver ponds and extensive willow stands on Beaver Creek. 

Big brown bats ( Eptesicus fuscus ) were captured in mist nets at 
the Douglas Creek mines in 1992, and at Queen •% Gulch in the 
Elkhorn Mountains east of Boulder in 1991. They were also 
observed, and heard on bat detectors, at the Mountain Lion Mine 

18 




M1= Little brown bat {Myotis lucifugus) 
M2= Yuma bat (M. yumanensis) 
M3= Fringed myotis {M. thysanodes) 
M4= Small-footed myotis (M. clllolabrum) 
M5= Long-eared myotis {M. evotis) 

EF= Big brown bat {Eptesicus fuscus) 

LN= Silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans) 

LC= Hoary bat {Lasiurus cinereus) 



Figure 2: Bat species captured, by location; 1991-1992. 



19 



east of Princeton, at the Eva May Mine northeast of Basin, and at 
Queen's Gulch in 1992 (Figure 2). There were old mine buildings 
at most of these sites. All of these sites are also in or near 
riparian areas, and most have mature Douglas fir or mature 
hardwoods nearby. 

This species was heard on the bat detector at numerous sites 
during surveys in 1992. These sites were Bison Creek, Queen's 
Gulch and Brown's Gulch in the Elkhorns, Pike's Peak Creek, 
Pigeon Creek, Beaver Creek, Boulder Creek, and along Old Highway 
10 southeast of Butte. They were also heard at the Mountain Lion 
Mine and the Douglas Creek Mines southeast of Drummond, and the 
Eva Mae Mine northeast of Basin. All sites except the Mountain 
Lion Mine were in riparian areas, and all had mature Douglas fir 
or mature hardwoods in the area. Extensive rock or rock outcrops 
were components of six of the 11 sites. Old mine buildings were 
at two of the sites. 

The Hoary bat {Lasiurus cinereus) was captured in 1991 above Rock 
Creek Lake northwest of Deerlodge. It was flying low over a 
slow-moving stream amid dense willows, in a Douglas fir forest. 
No other Hoary bats were captured on the Deerlodge N.F. during 
1991 and 1992, though one was captured in similar habitat over 
Indian Creek on the Helena N.F. on the east flank of the Elkhorn 
Mountains in 1992. Hoary bats were heard on the bat detector at 
Stoney Creek Campground near Rock Creek during surveys in 1992. 

20 



The habitat is riparian with open meadows, old Douglas fir, 
mature hardwoods, and nearby old buildings and rock outcrops. 

The Silver-haired bat ( Lasionycterus noctlvagans) caught in 1991 
was flying over a slow moving side-channel of Rock Creek west of 
Phillipsburg, It was in willow habitat amid cottonwoods and 
aspens, with dense Douglas fir forests and rock outcrops nearby. 
This species was heard on the bat detector on Bison Creek during 
surveys in 1992, and near Rock Creek during 1991 surveys. Both 
sites are riparian with moving water, beaver ponds, mature 
Douglas fir, mature cottonwoods, and aspens in the vicinity. 
There are extensive rock outcrops and cliffs near the Rock Creek 
site, and dense lodgepole forests near the Bison Creek site. 

A bat tentatively identified as Yuma myotis (Myotls yumanensis) 
was captured as it left a limestone cave next to the Crater on 
Pike's Peak Creek late in the summer of 1991. The habitat is 
riparian with mature Douglas fir, dense stands of lodgepole, and 
clearcuts nearby. 

The possible sightings of Townsend ' s big-eared bats {Plecotus 
townsendii) occurred near Pikes Peak Creek southeast of Drummond, 
The habitat is riparian, with mature Douglas fir, dense stands of 
lodgepole pine, and nearby clearcuts. A limestone outcrop in the 
vicinity has some caves that have been explored for bat activity. 
It seems possible that there may be undocumented caves in the 

21 



Cave and Adit Surveys 

One cave and several mines were located and surveyed for evidence 

of bat use on the Deerlodge National Forest in 1992. These were: 

The Crater NW 1/4 Sec 10 T8N RllW 

This cave was visited twice in 1991. No evidence of bat use 
was found at that time, though a Silver-haired bat was 
captured in a mist net leaving the cave in September 1991. 
The cave was once again searched for evidence of use in 
1992. None was found. The harp trap was again placed in 
the entrance. No bats were captured. 

No other caves were located or surveyed on the Deerlodge National 
Forest in 1992. 

The Mountain Lion Mine 

This mine adit, located east of Princeton, has been gated to 
allow passage of bats. Mist nets were placed near the 
entrance on the evening of August 19, and a bat detector was 
used to listen for activity, but none was heard leaving the 
mine, though Big brown bats were heard in the vicinity. No 
bats were captured. 



22 



Douglas Creek Mines 

Two nights were spent at this site on Douglas Creek. There 
are two gated adits, both apparently fairly extensive as 
cold air was blowing out of both. Mist nets were placed 
near the entrances, and the bat detector was used to listen 
for activity. There are also old mine buildings in the 
vicinity and these were searched for evidence of bat use. 
Bat activity was moderate at the site, including at the 
mouths of the adits and around the buildings. Six Big brown 
bats, one Small- footed myotis, and one Northern long-eared 
bat were captured in mist nets. Bats entering and leaving 
the adits appeared to be primarily Small-footed myotis. One 
of the old mine buildings, a small shed 1/4 mile (440m) east 
of the adits, apparently was being used by Big brown bats as 
a day roost. 

Eva May Mine 5 miles NE of Basin 

One night (August 21) was spent using mist nets and 
listening for bat activity, near the old buildings at this 
site. No bats were captured. A moderate amount of activity 
by Big brown bats was recorded. 

Mine site near Rocker Peak 6 miles NE of Basin 
One evening was spent listening for bat activity at a 
minesite one mile north of the Eva May Mine northeast of 
Basin. No bat activity was recorded. 

23 



Elkhorn 

One night was spent listening for bats around old mine 

buildings 1/2 mile north of the townsite of Elkhorn in the 

Elkhorn Mountains. No evidence of bat activity was 

recorded. 

An attempt was made to locate some reported mine sites west of 
the mouth of Foster Creek west of Anaconda, but these could not 
be located. No other mine sites were surveyed on the Deerlodge 
National Forest in 1992. 



DISCUSSION 

Survey methods 

A study designed to determine absolute and quantitative abundance 
of a species is a census. Several methods, such as mark- 
recapture and visual counts (Thomas and LaVal 1988), have been 
used by researchers to estimate absolute bat numbers, but these 
have generally been in enclosed areas such as caves, or at 
specific roosting or maternity sites. Determining quantitative 
measures of bat densities in a given habitat or foraging within a 
given area is not considered possible with current technology 
(Findley 1993, Thomas and West 1989). 

A survey is designed to provide relative and qualitative 

24 



information, in short to "respon(d) to such questions as. Does 
habitat A have more bats of a given species than habitat B does? 
or Is species X more abundant before or after modification of 
habitat Y?" (Thomas and West 1989). Findley (1993) concluded 
that the best that can be done by a community ecologist studying 
bats is to assess the relative abundance of different species and 
to compare regions and habitats with respect to the numbers of 
bats obtained for given amounts of effort applied. 

Summer roost counts, visual counts of foraging bats, ultrasonic 
detectors, vampire bites, and mist-netting and trapping were 
methods listed by Thomas and LaVal (1988) to estimate bat 
abundance in habitats or other geographic areas. The use of 
ultrasonic detectors and mist-netting were selected as methods 
for this study as no summer roost sites were known in the study 
area prior to the study, there are no vampire bats, and visual 
counts are limited to a short time after dusk, prior to the time 
many species in Montana emerge from day roosts. 

Species occurrence 

One of the objectives of this study was to document the 
occurrence of bat species on the Deerlodge National Forest. 
There are 14 species of bats in Montana (Thompson 1982). Several 
of these are not expected to be on or near the Forest due to 
limited distribution in the state, such as the Spotted bat 
(Euderma maculatum) and the Pallid bat (Antrozous pallldus) , both 

25 



apparently restricted in Montana to the vicinity of the Pryor 
Mountains south of Billings (Worthington and Ross 1990). Most of 
the species known to inhabit the state, however, could 
potentially be found on the Forest. Documentation of both 
general species diversity, as well as the occurrence of species 
suspected of being relatively unconunon, such as Townsend ' s big- 
eared bat {Plecotus townsendil) , is necessary for Forest planning 
and management, considering the mandates of federal legislation 
to manage for species diversity, and to maintain viable 
populations. 

Though an experienced observer can identify many bat species 
visually by size, shape, and flight characteristics, when light 
conditions allow, documentation was not considered positive for 
this study unless specimens were captured. 

Capturing bats with mist nets incorporates several biases. In 
this study, nets were never more than 15 feet above the ground, 
and therefore selected against the capture of high flying 
foragers. Other bats, such as the Townsend ' s big-eared bat are 
slow, maneuverable flyers that can usually detect and avoid a 
mist net or a harp trap, and thus are difficult to document by 
capture with these techniques. All insectivorous bats are 
probably capable of detecting and avoiding mist nets using echo- 
location. Few bats are thus captured while foraging. Most bats 
captured are probably "commuting" along habitually used pathways 

26 



on the way to or from foraging or watering areas (Thomas and West 
1989 ) . There is therefore an inherent site bias that cannot 
provide unequivocal information on the distribution of bats among 
sites or habitats using mist-nets as a survey method (Thomas and 
West 1989). Mist nets were used in this study to document 
species occurrence, while realizing that there are inherent 
biases in the method that select against the documentation of 
some species. 

A potential problem with capture methods such as mist-netting is 
mis-identification of bat species. Most species in Montana can 
be identified easily using one of several available dichotomous 
keys, such as van Zyll de Jong (1985). When there was any 
question of identification during this study, the bat in question 
was collected and taken to an expert for positive identification. 
Bats most easily confused on the Deerlodge National Forest are 
the Fringed myotis (Myotls thysanodes) with the Northern long- 
eared bat (Myotis evotls), and the Little brown bat complex: Yuma 
bat (Myotis yumanensis ) , California myotis (Myotis californlcus) , 
and Little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) . 

Relative density 

Relative density between sites and between habitats by different 
bat species can be determined using ultra-sonic bat detectors. 
Discussions of the various types of ultrasonic detectors, along 
with their inherent strengths and weaknesses, can be found 

27 



elsewhere (see Fenton 1988, and Thomas and West 1989). One or 
two tunable heterodyne detectors were used during this study. 
These detectors can be tuned to a number of frequencies, but can 
only scan a narrow band at one time. Detectors were normally set 
at 40 kHz during surveys, as most bats in Montana can be detected 
at that frequency. If a bat was heard long enough, an attempt 
was made to determine its lowest detectable frequency, as several 
species, or groups of species, can be identified using this 
characteristic. When two detectors were used on one survey, one 
was set at 40 kHz and one at 28 kHz. The lowest frequencies 
emitted by Myotis species (except M. volans, down to 32 kHz) are 
around 36 to 38 kHz, thus when a bat was heard on both detectors, 
it was presumed that it was not a Myotis. If it was only heard 
on the 40 Khz detector, it probably was a Myotis. 

The intensity of the echolocation call differs between species, 
as well as the frequency range of the call. This characteristic 
biases relative density information. Bats with intense 
vocalizations, such as Hoary bats or Big brown bats , are much 
more likely to be detected than those with weaker vocalizations, 
such as Townsend ' s big-eared bat. Myotis species fall between 
these extremes in intensity of their vocalizations. In effect, 
the area sampled by the detector is much larger for the strong 
emitters than for the moderate or weak emitters. Thus, direct 
comparisons of relative density between species based solely on 
bat detector results is unwise. 

28 



Some effort was made to determine species heard with bat 
detectors. Because of the biases discussed above, a quantitative 
comparison of relative densities of species will not be made. 
However, Myotis species were by far the most commonly heard bats 
at all sites except one (the Eva May Mine 5 miles northeast of 
Basin had only Big brown bats). 

Habitat use 

To analyze the use of various habitats, and the importance of 
various components of these habitats within the Deerlodge 
National Forest, bat use was determined from the results of 
surveys conducted with ultrasonic bat detectors. Bat use was 
defined as "bat passes per hour," as heard on a bat detector. An 
observer cannot generally differentiate between one bat passing 
several times, and several bats passing once, so the measurement 
is quite relative. For the habitat analysis, no attempt was made 
to differentiate species; all bat echolocation calls detected 
were recorded and used as a measure of relative density. Bat 
activity was arbitrarily assigned to categories of high (more 
than 10 passes per hour), moderate ( 5 to 9 passes per hour), and 
low (less than 5 passes per hour). This classification is 
completely arbitrary, and is based on results that occurred 
across the Deerlodge National Forest during 1991 and 1992. Of 31 
hours of transects run during 1992, only 13% recorded more than 
21 bats per hour, and about 65% had less than 10 bats per hour. 
In other localities 10 or even 60 bat passes per hour may be 

29 



considered low activity, but these categories will serve for the 
analysis of relative habitat use on the Deerlodge. 

Assuming that the degree of bat activity associated with a site 
correlates with the preference by bats for some component of the 
habitat of that site, analysis of bat activity by habitat 
component should indicate which components bats appear to be 
selecting for, or against. For instance, 67 percent of the sites 
surveyed in which beaver ponds were a component of the habitat 
had high bat activity, while another none had moderate activity 
(Table 2). Of sites with mature Douglas fir, 27% had high 
activity and 55% moderate activity. 

The habitat components at which a third or more of the sites 
featuring that component had high bat activity were: beaver ponds 
(67%), rock outcrops (43%), mature hardwoods (43%), riparian 
areas (38%), caves and adits (33%), and clearcuts (100%). There 
was only one site surveyed in 1992 with a clearcut nearby, and 
that site had high activity; it also had a riparian area, mature 
Douglas fir and mature hardwoods, a limestone cave, and rock 
outcrops in the vicinity. Features at which a third or more of 
the sites with that component had moderate activity were: old 
buildings (67%), caves and adits (67%), mature Douglas fir stands 
(55%), and rock outcrops (43%) (Table 2). 

Of those sites that had high bat activity, 100% had riparian 

30 



areas nearby, and 67% had beaver ponds in the vicinity (Table 3). 
Components that were part of the habitat at half or more of the 
sites with high bat activity, in addition to those mentioned, 
were mature Douglas fir (50%), and mature hardwoods (50%), rock 
outcrops (50%), and lodgepole pine forest (50%). No sites with 
high bat activity had old buildings in the area (Table 3). 

These results are similar to those reported during the 1991 study 
(Butts 1993). During 1991 and 1992, high and moderate bat 
activity was associated with sites that had rock outcrops, beaver 
ponds, mature hardwoods, or mature Douglas fir as components of 
the habitat. 

All bat species, with the exception of Silver-haired bats 
{Lasionycteris noctivagans) in Washington, were detected at 
dramatically higher rates in old-growth stands than in young or 
mature stands of Douglas fir in studies done in Oregon and 
Washington (Thomas and West 1991). Bats were between 2.5 and 9.8 
times more abundant in old-growth than in young or mature stands 
in both regions. Thomas and West (1991) speculated that the 
activity of the Myotis species, the Big brown bats, and the 
Silver-haired bats in Oregon were more abundant in old-growth 
because that habitat provided an increased variety and abundance 
of day roosts. Perkins and Cross (1988) reported that all of the 
Hoary bats and most of the Silver-haired bats in their study 
roosted in old-growth Douglas fir. They speculate that Hoary 

31 



bats prefer these older trees because they roost in foliage, and 
older trees provide a combination of shelter, open space to gain 
flight when leaving the roost, and immediate accessibility upon 
return. Silver-haired bats appear to prefer older Douglas fir 
trees because the bark tends to pull away from the bole providing 
crevices for shelter. Older trees are also may provide roosting 
crevices or cavities created by wind and lightning damage, shed 
limb holes, excavations by cavity nesting birds, cracks in the 
wood, and so on (Perkins and Cross 1988). 

Old-growth ponderosa pine provided some roosting sites, but was 
not selected as often by bats as old-growth Douglas fir because 
bark ridges are not as deep and bark exfoliation is not as common 
in ponderosa pine (Perkins and Cross 1988). 

Bats may roost in numerous sites within a forest exclusive of 
old-growth timber. Old buildings, including recreational cabins 
and buildings associated with abandoned mines, provide favored 
sites for many species, including the Little brown bat and the 
Big brown bat ( Fenton 1992), but these are often unavailable in 
much of the forested west. Caves and adits may provide roosting 
sites for many species of bats (Fenton 1992). Many of the Myotis 
species, including the Fringed myotis, the California myotis, and 
the Small-footed bat, have been found roosting in fissures and 
under rock slabs (Thomas and West 1986). 



32 



Foraging sites are found where there is an abundance of insects. 
Thomas and West (1991) reported that, although old-growth stands 
of timber had dramatically higher activity than other forest 
stands, Myotis species did not appear to forage there. In some 
cases, they reported, feeding rates were dramatically greater 
over water. Though insect density was similar in forested and 
lacustrine habitat, Lunde and Harestad (1986) found bat activity 
75 times greater in the lacustrine habitat. They reported no bat 
activity in cutover forest though insects were abundant in that 
habitat. 

Cave and adit surveys 

One cave and several mine sites were surveyed for evidence of bat 
use in 1992. The cave, near the Crater on Pikes Peak Creek, was 
also searched in 1991. No evidence of bat use was found in the 
cave, though one silver-haired bat was captured at the mouth of 
the cave in 1991. This cave has not been searched in the fall 
for evidence of swarming, or in the winter for evidence of use as 
a hibernaculum. As it is a rather small cave it is not a likely 
hibernaculum, especially for bats such as Myotis species that 
need cold, stable temperatures and high humidity. 

The Douglas Creek mines, on private property adjacent to the 
Deerlodge National Forest southeast of Drummond presently gated 
so that bats can easily enter and exit. They are apparently 
deep, cool adits that may be used as hibernacula. They were not 

33 



entered during surveys, but there was high bat activity in the 
area. They are probably being used as a sununer roosting site for 
male Big brown bats and Small-footed myotis. 

SUMMARY 

During 1991 and 1992, eight species of bats, representing four 
genera, were documented by capture during this phase of the 
study. These were the Big brown bat {Eptesicus fuscus), the 
Little brown bat (Myotis luclfugus) , the Yuma bat (Myotis 
yumanensis) , the Northern long-eared myotis (Myotis evotis) , the 
Small-footed myotis (Myotis ciliolabrum) , the Fringed myotis 
(Myotis thysajiodes ) , the Hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus) , and the 
Silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans) . The Fringed 
myotis is on the Montana Natural Heritage Program's list of 
species of special concern (Center 1993). 

Another species of special concern that was possibly observed on 
the Deer lodge National Forest, but was not positively identified, 
was the Townsend ' s big-eared bat (Plecotus townsendii) . Several 
were possibly observed in the vicinity of the Crater on Pike's 
Peak Creek late in the summer of 1992. 

Relative bat densities varied between habitats. Those with rock- 
outcrops, beaver ponds, mature hardwoods, mature Douglas fir, or 
riparian areas nearby had the greatest bat activity during both 
years of the study. 

34 



Findley (1993) stated that an increase in species richness 
accompanies increased availability of roosts. "Forested regions 
lacking cliffs, caverns, and caves support fewer species, and 
those that do occur are known to use trees as daytime roosts in 
summer. Mountainous, broken topography with opportunities for 
roosting in crevices, cliff faces, caverns, and caves support 
richer communities" (Findley 1993). 

Management activities that encourage undisturbed stands of old- 
growth forest, especially old stands of Douglas fir and mature 
hardwoods, the maintenance of healthy riparian areas, including 
snags and old individual aspens and cottonwoods, and the 
preservation of caves and access to abandoned mine adits will 
provide roosting and foraging habitat for a diversity and 
abundance of bats. Management activities that encourage large 
monocultures of relatively young trees, and even-aged management 
of forest stands will be detrimental to the diversity and 
abundance of bats using the forest. 



35 



LITERATURE CITED 



Anthony, E.L.P. 1988. Age determination in bats. In Ecological 

and behavioral methods for the study of bats. T.H. Kunz Ed. 
Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. 533 pp. 

Barbour, R.W. and W.H. Davis. 1969. Bats of America. Univ. Press 
of Kentucky, Lexington. 286 pp. 

Butts, T.W. 1993. A preliminary survey of the bats of the 

Deerlodge National Forest, Montana, 1991. U.S.D.A. Forest 
Service, Deerlodge National Forest, Butte. 

Campbell, N.P. 1978. Caves of Montana. Bulletin 105, State of 
Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, Butte. 169 pp. 

Fenton, M.B. 1988. Detecting, recording, and analyzing 

vocalizations of bats. In Ecological and behavioral methods 
for the study of bats. T.H. Kunz Ed. Smithsonian Institution 
Press, Washington, D.C. 533 pp. 

Fenton, M.B. 1992. Bats. Facts on File. New York, NY. 207 pp. 

Fenton, M.B. and G.P. Bell. 1981. Recognition of species of 

insectivorous bats by their echolocation calls. J. Mammal., 
62:233-243. 

Finch, D.M. 1992. Threatened, endangered, and vulnerable species 
of terrestrial vertebrates in the Rocky Mountain Region. 
Gen. tech. rpt. RM-215. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain 
Forest and Range Experiment Station, Fort Collins. 38 pp. 

Findley, J.S. 1993. Bats: a community perspective. Cambridge 
Univ. Press, Cambridge. 

Center, D.L. 1993. Animal species of special concern. Montana 
Natural Heritage Program, Helena. 11 pp. 

Hill, J.E. and J.D. Smith. 1984. Bats: a natural history. Univ. 
Texas Press, Austin. 243 pp. 

Hoffman, R.S. and D.L. Pattie. 1968. A guide to Montana mammals: 
identification, habitat, distribution, and abundance. Univ. 
Montana, Missoula. 

Kunz, T.H. and A. Kurta. 1988. Capture methods and holding 

devices. In Ecological and behavioral methods for the study 
of bats. T.H. Kunz Ed. Smithsonian Institution Press, 
Washington, D.C. 533 pp. 

36 



Lunde, R.E. and A.S. Harestad. 1986. Activity of little brown 
bats in coastal forests. Northwest Science 60: 206-209. 

Mumma, J. 1991. Updated Northern Region sensitive species list. 
Unpubl. memo. Northern Region, USDA Forest Service, 
Missoula. 

Racey, P. A. 1988. Reproductive assessment in bats. In Ecological 
and behavioral methods for the study of bats. T.H. Kunz Ed. 
Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. 533 pp. 

Reel, S., L. Schassberger, and W. Ruediger. 1989. Caring for our 
natural community: Region 1 threatened, endangered, and 
sensitive species program. USDA Forest Service, Northern 
Region. Missoula. 

Thomas, D.W. and R.K. LaVal . 1988. Survey and census methods. In 
Ecological and behavioral methods for the study of bats. 
T.H. Kunz Ed. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, 
D.C. 533 pp. 

Thomas, D.W. and S.D. West. 1986. Forest age associations of bats 
in the southern Washington Cascades and Oregon Coast Range. 
Final rep. PNW-84-234. Forest Sciences Laboratory, Univ. 
Wash. , Seattle. 

Thomas, D.W. and S.D. West. 1989. Sampling methods for bats. 

Gen. tech. rep. PNW-GTR-243. Pacific Northwest Res. Sta., 
USDA Forest Service, Portland. 

Thomas, D.W. and S.D. West. 1991. Forest age associations of bats 
in the southern Washington Cascades and Oregon Coast ranges. 
In Wildlife and vegetation of unmanaged Douglas-fir forests. 
Pacific Northwest Res. Sta., USDA Forest Service, Portland. 

Thompson, L.S. 1982. Distribution of Montana amphibians, 
reptiles, and mammals. MT Audubon Council, Helena. 

Tuttle, M.D. 1974. An improved trap for bats. J. Mammal. , 55: 475- 
477. 

van Zyll de Jong, C.G. 1985. Handbook of Canadian mammals: bats. 
National Museum of Canada, Ottawa. 21 pp. 

Worthington, D.J. and H.N. Ross. 1990. Abundance and distribution 
of bats in the Pryor Mountains of south central Montana. MT 
Natural Heritage Program, Helena. 



37 



APPEf'.DIX I 



BAT SURVEY FIELD FORM 



MYNHP 92/2-1 



DATE: 



LOCATION: 



WEATHER: 

TEMPERATURE 

CLOUD COVER 
HUMIDITY 



LEGAL DESCRIPIION: 

(staxt/time) (finish/time) 



SITE CHARACTERISTICS: 

MXiETATlON (tree and shmb sprips, canopy af^raffs, eat, daxity, (£stzJUXD) - 



Vi'Al'LK (streojn w.i4h, depth, speed bnnk oc^«-, pond or bke sae, emerge* \Bg3tabarO • 



LOCALCEOLOGY (iaktype,aiat.oCaacK3ptorcXlb)- 



CA\TS OR ADITS (in vidniV?, sL-itus sur^sd?) 

No(£: if bat sui%^ isataspodficc^ccr adit,de9CTibehereand(xxnpleteacav«sA«ntzxy fcrnO 



MIST NCT (OR TUTTLE TRAP) RESULTS: 

Nuinba- aixi sizes ofnujt nets set Iff 30" 42" 60" «}»•( ) 

How/M-hoe set (trail, streniii, cnnopy, pcnd, meodiTw, C3v« entianoe, etc - reccrd number and setting): 



TVjtlJe trap used? Y / N Where scC . 



38 



APPENDIX I (cont.). mtohp93^2 

Bats captured Y / N (Speoes, sac and nmnber): ^__ 



For each bat captuBd, recatL' 

SPECIMEN Nin^ffiER DATE- LOCATION: 



TIME d" CAPTURE. County, MT 

1) Species 

2)So: M F Un 3) Age Ad Juv Un 

4)RepnlsaaK F: Lic/NanLTc, Crsv / Postpuxxnn, Unkn None; ^t Sortal/NcratstX 

5) Wei^it . grams. Foreonn len^it mm. Other '4 « ■<"» characteristics: 



6) CciTUTiertts (net typs and hei^tt, ccndi&ai o( bot and marldn^^carB, ""J^^^^ cr released): 



For ench httt captured, rrand: 

SPECIMEN N-UMBER DATE: LOCATION: 



TIME of CAPTURE; Coundy, MT 

1) Species 

2;Sec M F Un 3) Age Ad Juv Un 

4) Reprod status F: Lac/Nan Lsc, Grav/ Postpartum, Urim Ntxie; M: Scntal/Nonsor* 

5) Wei^TL . grams. Fc««uin len^*; nun. Otha- spedSc charadaisbcs 



6} Caiuients (net t^'pe and hei^ oonditicn of bat and niarkin^kars, mlVrtpd or icjeasadh 



39